Bulgaria is seeking to make up a shortfall of places of accommodation for several thousand Ukrainians who have temporary protection as it goes ahead with a plan to transfer them from hotels to state and municipal properties at the end of May.
The head of the State Agency for Refugees, Mariana Tosheva, told a news conference on May 5 that more than 97 068 Ukrainian citizens who had fled Russia’s war on their country were registered for temporary protection in Bulgaria.
In all, there were 102 032 Ukrainians in Bulgaria, Tosheva said.
There were more than 59 000 accommodated in hotels, while the state had available place for 33 000 – meaning a shortfall of about 26 000.
Tosheva said that not all institutions had offered to provide accommodation for the Ukrainians. Identification of places to accommodate the Ukrainians was continuing.
The Transport Ministry is to come up with a plan to transport the Ukrainians to the places where they will stay.
She said that some of the places identified for the Ukrainians to stay needed minor repairs, others more serious ones.
Tosheva said that the worst option was to place people in sports facilities, but the effort was directed at putting them under a normal roof.
Some of the Ukrainians, especially those who had found jobs, wanted to move to rented accommodation.
Meanwhile, Bulgarian National Radio reported on May 5 that hoteliers in Balchik and Kranevo on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast, who had accommodated Ukrainian refugees, were insisting on extending the term of the programme for the use of humanitarian aid for accommodating people seeking temporary protection in Bulgaria.
They have sent a declaration with their demands to Tourism Minister Hristo Prodanov, as well as to the head of Parliament’s tourism committee, Ilin Dimitrov.
The hoteliers said in the letter that they were ready to provide full information on the available capacity and for what period it will be available.
They said that with their co-operation, some of the Ukrainian children had already gone to kindergarten, there were applications to be accepted into schools and some of the parents were in the process of finding work.
However, these processes could not be completed in the three weeks remaining to the hotel accommodation programme, they said.
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